House speaker calls joint sitting on July 13 for election of PM


House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, who is also Parliament president, has set July 13 as the date for the election of Thailand’s 30th prime minister.

However, the new speaker said he could not tell how many rounds of balloting would be required if Move Forward leader and PM candidate Pita Limjaroenrat fails to win the required 376 votes in the first attempt.

Wan Noor, who was elected House speaker on Tuesday, told reporters the following day about preparations for the PM voting session.

Wan Noor said he had reported to office on Wednesday to hold discussions with the House of Representatives secretary-general Pornpit Phetcharoen on his duties as House speaker and preparations for the next House meeting.

Wan Noor said he expected a royal command formally appointing him as House speaker and Parliament president in the next day or two.

On July 12, he said, he will call a House meeting for MPs to debate and vote on whether the House should meet two or three times a week.

Wan Noor said he has spoken with Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai about the PM’s election and that they both agreed to hold a joint sitting at 9.30am on July 13 to elect the next PM.

Meanwhile, the speaker admitted it was quite possible that Pita would not get the 376 votes required in one sitting to be elected as premier.

If that were to happen, he said, he would consult with both Houses of Parliament on what to do next.

The Constitution requires that the PM be elected with a simple majority of 500 MPs and 250 senators, or at least 376 votes.

Since the eight-party coalition led by Pita commands 312 MPs, the PM hopeful would need up to 64 votes from senators – if the candidate does not get votes from MPs outside the coalition.

“If the candidate does not get 64 more votes, another round of voting will have to be called. I can’t tell how many more rounds will have to be called,” he said.

He added that the charter only requires that voting sessions be held until the PM candidate gets 376 votes, without specifying how many times or if new candidates must be proposed.

“I can’t tell what will happen in the future, but the most important thing is we get ourselves a prime minister to run the country,” Wan Noor added.

He said the meeting’s chairman cannot set any conditions, but the number of balloting sessions will have to be decided by the majority of MPs and senators on the voting day.

He added that if MPs and senators do not make a quorum on the day, the balloting session cannot be held.

If it eventually turns out that PM candidates of political parties fail to receive enough votes, an outsider can be nominated for the prime minister’s vote, he added. However, this candidate will also need to receive votes from two-thirds of the 500 MPs and 250 senators.

Wan Noor said that on July 12, two new party-list MPs will be sworn in. They will be replacements for the United Thai Nation Party MP who resigned and the Move Forward Party MP who was disqualified.